About the Course

Crafting the Essay

  • Grades 7-11
  • CTY-Level

This immersive and collaborative course will introduce you to great essayists including Annie Dillard, Charles Simic, and Richard Rodriguez, and help you find your own distinctive narrative voice. You and your classmates will read, analyze, and discuss works of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, and then experiment with tone and mood, imagery, prose, and a variety of structures and narrative devices while learning how to effectively use figurative language to create your own moving and engaging personal stories. Through daily readings, informal writing assignments, editing workshops, and major writing projects, you will gain an understanding of the patterns and techniques of successful authors, and develop your own strengths as a writer. You will leave the course with strong critical reading and writing skills that you will continue to use through high school, college, and beyond.

Typical Class Size: 16

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level Not required CTY-Level
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.

Sign up for Testing Learn More

Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
    • Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)

Financial Aid is available

We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.

Learn More

Course Materials

Students should bring basic school supplies like pens, notebooks, and folders to their summer program. You will be notified of any additional items needed before the course begins. All other materials will be provided by CTY.

Sample Reading

These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.

  • Back to the Lake: A Reader for Writers, Thomas Cooley

Technical Requirements

Students must bring a tablet with a keyboard, laptop computer, or Chromebook for use during the session. A smartphone will not be sufficient.

About Language Arts at CTY

Write heroic stories

Want to have fun reading popular stories and writing your own tales of adventure? In Heroes and Villains, you’ll read, discuss, and write about well-known folktales and legends while also crafting your own. Pen your hero’s journey and explore a diverse range of books in Behind the Mask: Superheroes Revealed, or critically analyze popular comics and learn how to construct your own compelling narratives in The Graphic Novel.

Find your voice

Gain the tools to take your writing to the next level. In Being a Reader, Becoming a Writer, build your vocabulary and gain the tools to write your own creative fiction. You’ll learn to craft compelling narratives about your own experiences at the collegiate level in Crafting the Essay, and experiment with literary devices and figurative language in Writing Your World.

Meet our instructors and staff